Emergency Management Director for Clay County retires

Green Cove Springs, Fla. — Just six days into hurricane season, Action News Jax has learned Clay County’s Emergency Management Director, John Ward, is retiring.

We got the following statement from the county today:

“Emergency Management Director John Ward is retiring effective July 1, 2023. Deputy Director Mike Ladd is now the Acting Emergency Management Director. We can not comment on personnel matters, so we will not provide any additional comments.”


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In an email, Ward said, “It is with both excitement and sadness that I would like to announce that I have decided to retire. As I look to the next chapter, I reflect on the amazing journey the past 25+ years has been. The partnerships and relationships we have built are second to none, as have been proven many times especially during COVID. We have managed many incidents, deployments and special events with the processes that you all have assisted in building. Over time we have been able to build a great team that will move Clay County forward into the future for Clay County Emergency Management.”

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Ward is the second local EOC director to step down recently.

We told you in May when Duval County’s Director of Emergency Management, Todd Smith, resigned after one of our investigations uncovered allegations of sexual harassment and other issues that never made it into his personnel file.

Action News Jax is working to learn how Ward’s retirement will affect county operations as we head into hurricane season. Look for an update on Action News Jax at 5 p.m.

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